HTH and AED-Lidaw recently hired a new assistant program coordinator for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program. Nadege Piyalu Kewenewe was recruited and evaluated through a competitive application process. A former participant in the PMTCT program herself, Nadege is very familiar with both the needs of expecting moms living with HIV as well as the best ways to support and care for women throughout their participation in the PMTCT program. Said one of her colleagues, “Nadege is a petite woman with an unassuming manner, but her passion for helping women in the fight against HIV/AIDS is bold.”
Nadege began her journey with AED-Lidaw in 2008, when she discovered that she was HIV positive during a prenatal consultation. She recalls, “I was shocked. I was in a crisis. I thought it was a death sentence. I cried out and was very upset. The nurse told me that there was help if I was not too ashamed to get it. I said, ‘No, I am not ashamed. If there is hope for me and my baby, I will get help. There is no shame in that!’”
Nadege turned to Justine Teou, Coordinator of the PMTCT program at AED-Lidaw, and there she found the medical, emotional, and social support that she needed to walk the road that lay ahead of her. "What are the results I gained from following the program? They are happy ones! My health has gradually improved, and when I look at each of my children, I am very proud!”
Nadege has a vision for going to help other women who are in the place where she once stood. “Women who suffer, I understand them. I prayed, "Why has this happened? Is it for my sin? My little baby knows nothing of this?" Every night I cried with great suffering for the little child inside of me who was innocent. But now I can help others to have hope. I can show them what God has done for me through HTH. I can show them my children who are negative. I can help Mama Justine who helped me, and together we will bring hope to women who have lost their hope and their joy in living.”
According to HTH policy, individuals living with HIV are explicitly sought to fill non-clinical positions. HTH believes that no one is more qualified or more effective in program management roles than the people who have lived through the programs themselves. We have found time and again that the participants and beneficiaries of our programs intimately understand the challenges and strategies required to be effective. These participants-turned-leaders are also able to provide authentic and responsive support to other program participants. HTH is proud of this capacity building element of all of our programs, including the PMTCT program, and strongly believes in maximizing the human capital found within the communities with which we partner.
Nadege credits the people of AED-Lidaw and HTH with her positive attitude and her joyful outlook on life. “Today I can go out in public and proclaim my status. I can tell others the good news that there is hope and give my testimony so that they can know. They can know that they can be seropositive, but have a healthy child without HIV. I pray for our supporters and ask that they continue to join us in helping women and these unborn children. This is the beginning of the fight. If we can teach these mothers and their children, we will overcome this infection!” HTH is grateful to have Nadege and others like her who have the courage and compassion to make a difference in their community and the world.
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